Life After Layoff Could be Better Than Ever

By Marshall Reddy

When Rick Graham was laid off from a 23-year career in health care, it was a gift, he’ll tell you. “Had the layoff not happened, we would have missed out on our dream,” says the 53-year-old. He is now president of Club Pilates in Jacksonville, a franchise opportunity that I helped him find.

For many years, Rick and his wife had planned to own a few businesses when they retired so that they could continue to have an income equivalent to their salaries. The layoff sped up that plan by about 10 years. The Grahams used the unexpected free time to research franchise opportunities and make their first acquisition.

It’s a scenario I see often, with a few variations. An executive is laid off and decides they don’t want to get back on the corporate ladder. Or, they’re still employed, but because of downsizing they’re doing the job of 12 people and they’re not getting a pay raise. They realize there’s no potential to fulfill their dreams if they don’t make a bold change.

As a franchise expert, I help people like the Grahams make that leap. When they first started working with me, I did what I always do – asked them to fill out our Franchise Assessment Profile which comes back to me as 15 pages of information on my client(s). While that might seem excessive, it helps me gauge a prospective client’s value systems, personal goals, ideal business environment and investment preferences. Many business brokers won’t take the time to do this. It’s a very scientific approach that takes the emotion out of the business decision. If there’s not a match to the profile of a successful franchise owner, I’ll tell them, “don’t do this.”

The Grahams were a good match. However, Rick admits he didn’t even know what the pilates exercise system was when we began to discuss the opportunity. Yet this particular franchise met their goals, serves the community, and will allow them to build alternative cash flow with limited participation.

They acquired a license for three Club Pilates studios and have just opened their first one. It’s the type of business that allows them to be semi-absentee owners. Unlike full time owner-operators, they only have to manage their managers. That will allow them to take time off for vacations and other activities they envisioned for their retirement years.

If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and want to build your own ladder to success, you might want to explore franchising. Through FranNet, I work with more than 150 different franchise companies. Many of these are #1 in their niche or are emerging growth opportunities. With 20-plus years of experience in the business, I can be your guide and advocate during the process, start to finish. That includes finding “hidden” franchise opportunities you might not find on your own, connecting you with lenders, ironing out your franchise agreement, brokering your real estate deal, and setting up your business model.

The benefits of franchising are obvious, my client Rick says. “We are now in control of our own destiny. We are creating retirement income instead of relying on Social Security. There is so much more flexibility. We are no longer sacrificing our dream on the altar of fear. And instead of climbing a corporate ladder, we are creating wealth for ourselves.”


For more information about owning a franchise or for help discovering if franchise ownership is right for you, contact Marshall Reddy at 904-248-1820 or email For more reading on this subject and more, visit

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